Mash It Up!

Happy Monday everyone and here is hoping that we all had a wonderful and even dramatic weekend, (you know what I am talking about, USA-Canada).

Waking up this morning, didn’t we all feel great? Yes, Ryan Miller did his best impression of Jim Craig, stopping pucks from the Russians, excuse me, Canadians and clearly acted as the anchor in a 5-3 win. Yet, I did enjoy Ryan Kessler’s open netter with less than a minute to play, such an awesome final moment.

How about Vince Wilfork having the franchise-tag slapped to his back today, what are your thoughts? This hasn’t worked out well in the past for the New England Patriots. Remember Adam “Automatic” and Asante “Pay Me” Samuels? What happened to them following the “Tag” … anyone know? Oh that’s right, they left Beantown and found themselves two new homes, so here’s hoping, Christmas 2010 comes early for Vince and his agent.

What are the chances that Dice-K will be healthy in April?

Who do you expect to be either sidelined or glued to the bench come April … Dice-K, David Ortiz or Nate Robinson?

So the MLS may have a lockout, are you serious? We all want to watch MLS soccer here in the USA and would be deeply upset if we had to settle with March Madness, NBA/NHL Playoffs, Golf and maybe local high school track and field.

How about Tim Tebow planning to show off a new grip and throwing motion for this upcoming NFL draft, sounds interesting to me, but not too intriguing. Tebow was not impressive in the Senior Bowl, but will he really look like a better quarterback from this new grip? I say, “NOT AT ALL,” but we shall see!

So apparently USA Olympic skier, Lindsey Vonn has some feelings for Tiger Woods, but not an affectionate one of course, yet instead, some advice. Vonn wants to go on Saturday Night Live (SNL) and give a press conference of her own, similar to Tiger’s, which won’t include multiple apologies, but plenty of crafty wise ideas toward Tiger and his major problem toward women. I would love to see this happen, especially since Vonn has become the newest heartthrob amongst many media members and young men in America, so when do the Olympics conclude?

To conclude this mash-up, I am super excited about the upcoming March Madness tournament, yet was very unhappy when I read an interesting piece in  Sports Illustrated that discussed the possibility of changing 65 teams to 96. There were some great points made, but seriously, lets keep it at 65 because otherwise, March Madness will be as bad as the BCS  and we all know how much everyone adores the BCS!

Boston Celtics: Good or Bad Deal for Nate Robinson?

Here is a blog submitted by one of my fans. He asked for me to post his reactions toward the whole NBA Trade Deadline, but primarily how he felt about the entire Robinson deal. Here is Trevor Paul, an alum of Wheaton College in Massachusetts writing about the Boston Celtics!

Nate Robinson ... does he help the Celtics?

Okay so, at this time Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry are being swapped for Bill Walker, J.R. Giddens, and Eddie House. On the surface, this makes zero sense for the Celtics. They get a ballhog PG who doesn’t REALLY play point guard and lose one of their “core players” (according to Doc) and few remaining game changing shooters. Really, do we not remember how House could totally change the game with only 6 points? Two huge shots, game changed, that’s Eddie House.

So how can this possibly work for the Celtics? What is the benefit of the trade?

Well consider the climate, there are a lot of factors in play but let’s run them down. First, the Celtics aren’t going to miss the playoffs. An older team will have a good chance in the playoffs with the extra downtime to adjust and recover, so they COULD win this year, but there is NO trade out there that makes it definite, so trading is foolish because you can’t make yourselves DEFINITELY able to win. The only way the trade would make sense is if it is long-term.

So how could this trade work long term? Well, who are the big three free agents next year?

1.) LeBron James  2.) Dwyane Wade  3.) Chris Bosh

What happens to the Celtics next year?

1. Ray Allen’s contract is over, they have him off the books.

2. Nate Robinson’s contract ends this year, that is also off the books.

3. J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker are no longer paid, no matter how minimal that payment is it is still off the books.

Ray Allen, keep or let him go?

The Math:

*Ray Allen’s 2010 salary: $19M

*Nate Robinson-Marcus Landry 2010 salary: $4.5M (theoretically $2.5M given the nature of Nate’s contract)

*J.R. Giddens-Bill Walker 2010 salary: $1.9M team optioned

Realistically reduced salary number: $23.4M off the books next year, still over the cap but significantly lower than before. Now consider the price tag on available players next season…

LeBron James current yearly salary 2010: $15M

Dwyane Wade’s current yearly salary 2010: $15M

Chris Bosh’s current yearly salary 2010: $17M

So, let’s consider the climate of the NBA next year, without being super detailed beyond the above math. At the end of the day, LeBron and Dwyane are going to be hotly pursued. Pundits have talked about chasing down LeBron and getting Dwyane as the “second prize” but no one has really discussed Bosh as the third prize. Apparently it is heavily assumed that Bosh would be going to one of the cities that gets Wade or James, but is that a definite?

Going to Wade or James’ team does not guarantee Bosh a distributing point guard or another low post presence to help him, similar to Gasol and Bynum in L.A. Realistically, it isn’t a great deal for Bosh as it demands a lot of him and puts extreme pressure on him to perform in the clutch to save his team. Not considering salary, going to a team with either a powerful big man or a great point guard is his ideal, not to mention what sorts of veterans might help him at that team.

The Celtics tossed out House and the young guns for a ball-hogging guard that isn’t a true backup to Rondo, but what if Ainge is doing what he did when he acquired Garnett? Thinking longterm, letting the team take a hit now and plotting around the whole thing with a deal that looks blah at first, but hits a homerun? People forget, Celtics fans were totally unaffected by the Allen signing, until we got Garnett and then it was brilliant. Well, what if the Celtics are playing the smart hand in the free agency market?

Bosh could be signed for $18-20M per year in a 2-3 year deal. Suddenly, the Celtics starting five becomes Perkins-Bosh-Garnett,Pierce-Rondo. Pierce, the reigning three point champ, becomes the two guard, taking pressure off of him to drive and work the stud forwards on other teams. Bosh becomes the stud PF, taking on the majority of the scoring work, but with Perkins to play serious defense and score on a wide range of shots and with Rondo to feed him and create his own shots. This is a nightmare starting five for other teams because two former unstoppables (Garnett and Pierce) are no longer being pushed to do too much and the new big three is a high percentage scorer and vicious defender (Perkins), a scorer and developing defender (Bosh), and a fantastic point guard and defender (Rondo). The bench now is as good as it was, without the added pressure of needing to pick-up the starters, which is the biggest problem this year for the Celts.

Could this happen? Uh, yeah, actually it isn’t too unrealistic. Bosh would be smart to come to Boston, potentially smarter than if he goes to wherever Wade and James go, because he has all the support he needs to thrive without feeling pressure to be THE inside presence. Garnett and Pierce could sell Bosh, easily, they did it before and they still hold the esteem to do it again. I don’t care what people say about James and Bosh’s friendship, they do not compliment eachother well enough. There are only a couple things that could ruin this for the Celtics:

1. LeBron and Dwyane resign early, making Bosh the sweepstakes player to chase (unlikely).

2. Boston resigns Robinson longterm (crazy, maniacal laughter from every sensible Celtics fan terrified this might happen).

3. Bosh resigns with Toronto (impossible).

4. Boston signs someone else or resigns Ray (unlikely given their unwillingness to negotiate the deal now).

What will Danny do when the 2009-2010 season is done?

Look, at the end of the day Boston is not getting LeBron or Dwyane, and they don’t need to, but Bosh is actually almost an EASY get. Everyone else is chasing the other two, Bosh is available and potentially he is the best option if you are the Celtics. Young, complimentary star to your other two young stars. Pierce and Garnett leave? Who cares! The core is still Rondo-Bosh-Perkins. Financially it works, common sense says it works, and it is the ONLY possible way the Robinson deal makes sense.

Ultimately that is really what I’m saying here isn’t it? Robinson coming to Boston on an expiring deal is stupid. It is BEYOND stupid, it’s throwing away a great player for this team for a selfish useless, Starbury 2.0 player. Unless this is why. And the more I try to think about it, the harder I try to decide WHY this would happen, the more convinced I am this is why. It might just make sense, it might just happen, and if it does, I might just not be too upset with Mr. Danny Ainge

A Meaningful Victory: New Orleans Will Enjoy This Win

A Neighborhood in the Lower Ninth Ward

It hasn’t even been a full 24-hours, but this New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory seems like something that will be celebrated for days, weeks, months and maybe all of 2010. Although, this victory goes beyond the gridiron, everyone in the stands and those watching at home last night because this win is truly what the city of New Orleans needed the most.

Last month, I traveled down to New Orleans, but upon my return back to Boston, I have come away with so much more knowledge regarding the aftermath of the hurricane, but also how the entire city’s population relies heavily upon the Saints on Sunday’s in the fall.

This particular team has helped everyone in the city get by, recover and know better days are ahead.

I had the chance to talk with many wonderful members of the city throughout my weeklong journey, some from the neighborhood of the house I was helping rebuild, others from the French Quarter and then the wonderful people who hosted my college’s group.

The Stairs to a home in the Lower Ninth Ward

Everyone has a story in New Orleans. All of them are tragic, heartbreaking and down right awful, but the optimism that I felt from all my conversations was something I will always remember. Everyone was resilient and hopeful for better days, which I assured these people it will come. Yet, after watching a full 60-minutes of football the other night, I could only imagine how this victory hit them in a way many of us will never imagine or experience.

All of the men and women I spoke with explained that when the Saints won on Sunday’s this past fall, Monday’s were so much better. It gave them this feeling that they were literally unstoppable and could accomplish anything. I can imagine on this particular Monday, life is pretty swell.

The entire city is decked out in Saints paraphernalia. You cannot turn a corner, especially in the French Quarter without seeing a Saints t-shirt, hat, bumper sticker or a jersey in the numerous store windows. They are all Saints fans in New Orleans and support their team no matter if they win or lose.

Many people have not returned to New Orleans or possibly never will, but everyone who was affected by Hurricane Katrina knows how special this victory will be for days, weeks, months and years.

An NFL organization, which used to be pitiful, awful, horrendous has turned around from the “Aints” to maybe the “Greats.”

The Optimism of I WILL REBUILD!

All Americans, those who have helped out with the relief efforts and every NFL fan coast to coast, should cherish this victory. Possibly, New Orleans is turning into America’s brand new team, but before we go that far lets at least enjoy what millions witnessed last night in Miami, Florida.

Last night following all the excitement and before falling asleep, my thoughts turned immediately to every person I encountered last month because I knew this is just the start of great things for all of them and their beloved city.

Super Bowl XLIV In The Books: Saints Win!!

At times, I thought of returning to my textbooks.

At times, I was sitting on the edge of my couch.

At times, I was considering reaching for an extra Oreo.

At times, Peyton looked like … well Peyton.

And at times, I just couldn’t believe another NFL season was about to come to an end, yet again.

Super Bowl XLIV was fun, but at sometimes seemed like snooze-fest. When the Colts took an early lead, 10-0, images of Tampa Bay-Oakland flashed before my very own eyes. Remember how bad that Super Bowl was overall? It was awful, dreadful, as well as pathetic. I believe I was watching MTV with my neighbors by halftime that evening.

When the Saints were trailing 10-6 at halftime, all I could remember was New England-Carolina, Super Bowl XXXVIII. What a great defensive first half!

Yet, when the Saints began the second half with an unusual, catch them off guard play, an on-side kick, I knew we were going to be in for a real treat. Everything seemed to fall into place following this opening play. Drew Brees connected for his first touchdown of the evening, a 16-yard pass to halfback, Pierre Thomas, and from there never looked back.

Yes, Peyton and the Colts roared back with a Joseph Addai 4-yard touchdown run, but that would be their final score of the contest.

The Saints defense, led by coordinator Greg Williams, pushed his squad to its limits. He caught Manning off guard, as well as forced the Colts to play New Orleans Saints football, which when the game is on the line looks somewhat hard to figure out.

Following Tracy Porter’s interception, which resulted in a touchdown, we all knew this game was over, done and belonged to New Orleans.

This victory was perfect, not just as a Patriots fan and seeing Manning remain with one Super Bowl ring on his finger, but to see Drew Brees and the rest of the New Orleans Saints win it, not just for themselves, but their beloved city.

The city of New Orleans loves their Saints. They live, breath and die by them; no matter if they are 0-16 or 16-0; the Saints are their hope, inspiration and love.

Tonight, no matter if you root for the Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders or New York Jets, we are all Saints fans!

Congratulations to WHO DAT NATION! You guys have won, Super Bowl XLIV!